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Tribunal nullifies Orji Kalu’s election as Abia North Senator

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The National and State Assembly election petitions tribunal sitting in Umuahia, Abia State, has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct a supplementary election within 90 days in eight wards in Arochukwu Local Government Area and several polling units in Ohafia and Isukwuato LGAs where votes were cancelled during senatorial election in Abia North senatorial district.

The three-man tribunal led by Justice Cornelius Akintayo ordered the supplementary election while giving judgment in a petition brought before it by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the election, Mao Ohuabunwa, who had challenged the victory of the Senate Chief Whip, Orji Kalu, in the Senatorial election.

Kalu was declared winner of the election by the returning officer, Dr. Charles Anumudu, which Ohuabunwa described as “excess electoral fraud and broad daylight robbery.”

He, therefore, approached the tribunal to seek justice.

Until the annulment, Kalu was the Senator representing Abia North at the National Assembly.

The tribunal also ordered a rerun election for the Abia North Senatorial District.

Kalu was elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress and was inaugurated as federal lawmaker for the 9th National Assembly.

Last Thursday, the tribunal had dismissed a petition brought before it by another individual — candidate of the All Grassroots Alliance, Anagha Anagha, challenging Kalu’s victory in the Abia North senatorial zone election.

Anagha had challenged Kalu’s victory on the ground that he (Anagha) was excluded from contesting the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

But the three-man tribunal led by Justice Cornelius Akintayo, in a unanimous judgment on Thursday, ruled that the petitioner had failed to prove his allegation of exclusion by INEC.

The tribunal also held that Anaga did not have anything to prove that he was a candidate in the election and therefore had no locus standi to challenge the election.

The election tribunal therefore scolded the petitioner’s lawyer for bringing the case to the court in the first place without ascertaining that his client was a candidate of AGA for the election.

The tribunal awarded a cost of N500,000 against him in favour of the respondents.

The tribunal had earlier granted an application by AGA, seeking to strike out its name from the petition on the grounds that the petitioner was never nominated by the party.

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Details of IBB’s meeting with lawmakers in Minna revealed

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Former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, on Thursday, told members of the Niger State House of Assembly, that they have met the expectations of the people.

IBB stated this when the lawmakers visited him at his Uphill home in Minna.

“I have been looking forward to meeting with you.

“I am proud to say that you have been doing well. You are meeting our expectations.

“We have heard of states lacking synergy among the arms of the government, but in Niger State that should not be your lot.

“Keep a good working relationship between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. You have been doing this and I want you to keep it up.

“You are closer to the people. It is your responsibility to know what the people need and carry them along all the time. Do not leave them outside your projects and programmes,” he said.

Speaker Abdullahi Bawa Wuse explained that they visited the former President, to get the blessings required to run the legislature effectively.

“We are here to get the blessing of our father; this is because we know your concern and commitment to the development of this state and Nigeria.

“Outside office, you have done more than you did while in office. Your role as a father in the nation has ensured that Nigeria remains indivisible,” Bawa said.

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Tribunal upholds Ikpeazu’s election, dismisses Alex Otti’s petition

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The three-man panel of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, and chaired by Justice A.L. Ogumoye, has dismissed the petition filed by 2019 APGA gubernatorial candidate, Dr. Alex Otti against the declaration of Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu.

The tribunal ruled that the petitioner failed to prove the case of over-voting, non-compliance to the INEC election guideline and electoral act.

Recall that Alex Otti had asked the tribunal to cancel fifteen out of the seventeen local government areas’ election results in Abia State.

Otti claimed that the respondents, PDP, and Governor Okezie Ikpeazu who was the governorship candidate of PDP perpetrated excessive malpractice in those LGAs in the last March 9, 2019, election conducted in the state.

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Importers Smuggling Rice In Tyres, Says Economist

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Due to the closure of Nigeria’s borders with Benin Republic, rice smugglers are seeking out more devious ways of importing the product into the country.

National Coordinator of the Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria, Dr Oladapo Ganiyu, while speaking with SaharaReporters said that people have resulted to fitting bags of rice into tyres of automobiles. 

Ganiyu, who claims this method is carcinogenic, said the border closure was untimely.

He said, “The closure of the border now is untimely. People are now packing rice inside tyres.

“When the four tyres are rolling, will you suspect there is rice there? The way they are bringing it in, it can cause cancer.

“The people I have spoken with on commercial buses and market women, say the rice is not sweet and it takes time to cook.”

Speaking further, Ganiyu said ICEN will give the government’s new economic team six months before judging their performance.

For over 30 days, Nigeria’s border with Benin Republic and parts of its Northern border with Niger Republic had been closed.

Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, insists that the border closure will not cease until concerned West African states stop the smuggling of parboiled rice from their country into Nigeria. 

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